Ree Webster: Dare Seeing Talent. Well wishes for the New Year.
As the year comes to close the annual polls on who reigned supreme and who failed to rise to the occasion begins to fill the MMA community with conversation, debate and the acceptance of mutual respect. But checking the nominees, picks and favourites for 2013 I found my attitude a little different from previous years… I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing but the exact thought eluded me.
Then, when listening to the last MMA Beat of year on the popular MMAfighting.com, it began to sink in. The topic of the polls was one of the featured segments of the show and as expected many of the awesome wars that took place in UFC during 2013 are up for fight of year.
As a hardcore fan who tries to watch as MMA as possible it’s always pleasing to see names from less popular organizations make the shortlist – e.g. Bellator’s Eddie Alverez vs Michael Chandler for fight of the year – and this December I’d hoped to see a few more do just that. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, the nominations were dominated by UFC bouts.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing can be taken away from high-level fights between Jones and Gustafson, or Melendez and Sanchez but somewhere on that list, at least within the top 10, should have been a bout that I’m guessing not many people have had the privilege of watching – Ole Laursen Vs Joe Ray.
This fight, which took place on Oct 12th at the DARE Rebels of MMA, was a true display of mixed martial arts and one of the most thrilling battles I’ve seen in a long time. Google it. The two fan favourite veterans of the sport showcased powerful talent on the feet and on the ground, and after endless flurries of strikes as well as submission attempts and escapes from both fighters, The Joe Ray took home a W by pulling off an arm triangle choke in the 3rd round just seconds before the final bell.
It’s no secret that lower level promotions put on great fights all the time and many of these barely have a chance of the getting the coverage needed to be listed for fight of the year. But this bout was different. Both fighters have previously made a name for themselves on the international circuit, and had it taken place under any other banner, would have probably received much more press.
Anyone unaware of the exclusive DARE Fight Sports and its million dollar tournament may quite rightly assume that one great match up can’t make a name for a new promotion, and therefore may not show the upmost attention to the rising Bangkok MMA pioneers. But if you think DARE just got lucky with that match up, then you must also think it’s pure coincidence that James Saville Scraps was picked up by Britan’s premier MMA organization BAMMA, while other Fighters have fought underneath the Bellator banner. I for one hope to see great things from DARE Fight Sports in 2014. They are a real breath of fresh air.